By Kevin Kindelin
When I was assigned the task of writing about our recently revived K.I.C.K. program (Kids in Christ’s Kingdom), I thought of all the children in this world that didn’t, don’t, or won’t grow up grounded in the Christian faith. Even though I wasn’t the most devout Catholic church-goer as a child, I had the blessing of being taught from an early age, earlier than I can pinpoint, that Jesus loved me and was my Lord and Savior. With the innocence of a child, I took it upon faith that these precepts were true. I didn’t fully understand what “being saved” meant, but I knew it was pretty important in the grand scheme of my beautiful, untarnished, childish mind. These truths were ingrained in me, so even though I may have wandered in life here and there, I came back full force, all in, so to speak, to a faith I had experienced as a child. The children that grow up in other faiths are taught to believe in a mostly works-based salvation and can never feel secure in knowing that our God loves them for who they are. I know that’s a blanket statement; that’s why I said mostly.
Jesus told us directly and in no uncertain terms that only through Him can we attain the kingdom of heaven, only through Him shall we see the Father, only by grace are we saved. I believe this to be the absolute truth, but He didn’t say how. I believe our God is so merciful and loving that somehow or another, He gives all of His children the opportunity to believe in Him…whether it’s through us planting seeds by our witness and proclamation of our faith, i.e. mission trips and even daily conversations, or if Jesus comes to people in ways we don’t understand. I also think it’s so much less complicated and more comforting to grow up in faith. As Christians, we are blessed to be exposed to the truth. As Christian parents, isn’t it reassuring to know that your kids are growing up crawling, then walking with our Lord?
With all of the distractions and temptations in their lives, it’s so important to keep our kids engaged in our church and their faith. Let truth be told…kids get bored in church, and often not only don’t get any value out of being dragged out of bed on Sunday morning to go to what they perceive as Mom and Dad’s social club, but they can cause enough commotion where Mom or Dad has to haul them back to the Noah’s Ark Room behind the narthex to cool off from their various meltdowns. Reviving K.I.C.K. aims to build stronger relationships with our youth and provide activities that will foster spiritual growth and keep them interested and invested.
K.I.C.K. kicked off its resurrected iteration recently. (Sorry, I’m a fan of the corny pun.) In an effort to plant seeds in the untilled soil of the youthful mind and the well plowed stubborn heads of our teenagers, the pastoral team thought it would be a good idea to bring back the youth- focused program that previously gathered on Wednesday nights.
On Sunday mornings, the preschoolers through fifth graders have the opportunity to shine under the glare of the spotlight during Pastor’s Children’s Message near the beginning of the 10:30 service. After that, they will be led out of the sanctuary by Pastor Donald Antor, Director of Youth Ministries, (unless he’s preaching that week whereby Senior Pastor Warren Schilf will have the honor) to Children’s Faith Hour. The sixth graders through high schoolers will remain parked in their pews to absorb the rest of the service. After that, they can participate in Back Pew, a brief question and answer discussion session with Pastor Donald covering the day’s sermon and lesson therein. Afterwards, Open Gym for the whole family will allow kids to play with other kids and, hopefully, bond with their families in a Christian environment. Parents, you can talk amongst yourselves, but please don’t embarrass your kids. It is, after all, all about them, at least during K.I.C.K.
I asked Pastor Donald what he thought of the “new” K.I.C.K. so far. “It’s exciting to have this for the youth and build stronger relationships with them. It was awesome to see 25 kids come on the first Sunday. Can’t wait to see what God has in store for this. None of this would be possible without the volunteer efforts of three Immanuel moms, Jen Healy, Dana Roe, and Cassi VanderGiessen.” More adults are needed to sustain these efforts. Dads are welcome to help also. Even if mom spelled upside down is wow, dads are pretty important too…just sayin’. For more information, or to volunteer, contact Pastor Donald at PastorDonald@ilcp.org. You may also contact the church office at 847-359-1549. No prior registration is required. Just sign your kids in at the table near the church coat room.
It’s so important to get kids involved in their faith and the church, but so too is it crucial for the adults to be involved, especially the men. Men’s Ministry is a good place to start. I’ve been involved in Men’s Ministry for about umpteen million years, and I would be hard pressed to tell you what, exactly, we do. Oh, I know who we are, (we just don’t seem to talk about it loudly enough) SO I WANT TO LET YOU KNOW we’re a loosely organized group of men, grounded in faith who get together in various capacities in service to Immanuel, the community, and, most of all, God. Men’s Ministry is probably best known for its famous singing group, The Creaky Old Bones, and rightfully so, but there’s much more. There are Bible studies to join. We‘ve held several breakfast meetings over the years where we gathered to discuss such topics as our role in the community and our responsibility to reach out into it and share our faith. There’s not really a lot of structure, so to speak, but when the need arises or circumstances dictate, we try to answer the call and we’re hoping to add more men to our ranks.
The point is, we are a bunch of creaky old bones and we need new blood to rejuvenate and sustain us. It’s a lot of fun being part of Men’s Ministry. It doesn’t really matter what we do as long as what we are doing is in service to the Lord. He may wince when I might hit a bad note singing, but I know He’s smiling! If you don’t feel comfortable singing, don’t worry; there are other things we can find for you to do. The requirements are quite stringent…you must be a man! Don’t even come knocking if you can’t fit that bill. Women, I love you more than you know but we need more men to step up and be a part of all this! I see K.I.C.K. as being part of the equation, but that’s a few years away. Contact Pastor Warren at PastorWarren@ilcp.org or Vicar Bill Harder at firstname.lastname@example.org.